Like implementing the Anaplan platform, building your CoE should be an agile process that grows proportionally with your Anaplan footprint. What has your CoE development maturity path looked like throughout the months or years as it has grown? Any tips or advice you would give to those following in your footsteps?
Groupon has had an exciting Anaplan journey and the COE team has been key to our success. I think about that journey in 3 key phases.
2013 – 2016 Phase 1: Early Implementation & Setting the Foundation (2 models live) – these early years established our first two use cases, financial actual consolidations and FP&A forecasting/planning. We were heavily focused on getting buy-in and user adoption across the finance org. While the team did not refer to themselves as a center of excellence, this was the beginning of our COE team. The org invested in continuous learning of these 2-3 team members as they became the Anaplan SMEs at Groupon.
2017 – 2018 Phase 2: Build & Enhance (~15 models live) – these were pivotal years for Groupon’s Anaplan COE team. Big use case growth as we expanded to tax and internal audit teams, as well as many more use cases within FP&A. In 2017, our Anaplan COE team was formalized and bi-weekly meetings started. This central team worked cross functionally with other key Anaplan stakeholders to lead projects that brought value back to the org. The COE team grew to about 5 team members at this time, with 3 of those achieving Master Anaplanner status. In 2018, we also rolled out model builder licenses to team members outside of the immediate COE.
2019 Phase 3: Enablement (~19 models expected by end of year) – to date, it’s been an exciting year for our Anaplan COE. We have rolled out the Anaplan Model Builder Council, which is a team that includes both COE model builders and non-COE model builders. This council allows us to collaborate and ensure all Groupon model builders are leveraging best practices. The COE team assumes true leadership across the company and takes it upon ourselves to always be up to speed on best practices and ensure successful projects. Lastly, the COE team is about to kick-off a project with our consulting partners at Impetus to develop in-house model builder training with the goal of ramping new model builders faster. We expect our COE team to continue to grow and we want to ensure we are training them with best practices.
As you can see, as we’ve grown our Anaplan use cases and models, our COE team has grown and evolved. The advice I have to others on this journey is simple: invest heavily in your internal Anaplan COE team. In my opinion, it’s a requirement to have internal talent that is 100% devoted to Anaplan. To take it a step further, developing a strong team of individuals that make up your COE team allow an org to scale their Anaplan solutions and ensure best practices. The COE team at Groupon is a big reason for our success on this journey.